10.1 La Paz

La Paz is the highest capital city in the world, and took roughly 8 hours to reach from Puno.

The border crossing was almost infinitely easier than 9.1, and after changing buses 8km into the country, we crossed Lake Titicaca and headed straight for the Capital.

After finding a hostel, I wandered over to city’s football stadium.

The game that evening was Bolivar vs Sao Paulo in the Copa Liberadores (equivalent of Champions League in Europe).

The hustle and bustle outside was like all matches: merchandise, sponsors, food stands. And though I couldn’t discern what they were saying, I guess the shifty looking characters were ticket touts.

Taking my seat near the halfway line, I’d just got comfy and Sao Paulo were 3-0 up. The Bolivarians were not best pleaaed.

One of the players endured an injury and was ‘stretchered’ off on a golf buggy.

At halftime, the teams split off to their dugouts and the officials too made their way to their underground changing rooms.

The Police guards had the job of protecting them from an onslaught of missiles (despite, to my knowledge having done no wrong) and it was interesting to see the Fuzz undertake a Roman Army formation with their shields.

The break rejuvenated the home side, and with roughly 15 minutes to go, the score was 3-3.

Then a penalty was awarded causing great excitement.

The Bolivian striker coolly slotted home sparking a chorus of chants throughout the stadium.

With both sides squandering late chances, the score ended: Bolivar 4 – 3 Sao Paulo

This was the first football game I’d seen on this trip, and it was refreshing to see such fluid (liquid) football. The ball never went long from a Goal Kick.

The other highlight (of sorts) from the city was looking for lunch.

I’d wandered near the Central Plaza and quickly became inundated with offers of food.

The lunch market was particularly interesting.

There are rows upon rows of small shacks/ cafes that all share common characteristics: named after the owner, roughly 3×4 metres in size, seat approx 12 people.

The meals were similar to Cusco (see 9.3), only minus the sweet tea.

The cost was 70p.

After filling up, and with money burning a hole in my pocket, I took self-guided tour around the other establishments and boosted my 5-a-day count with a fruit salad, and then a smoothie.

The more I walked, the more I saw these shacks, each a pretty much carbon copy of the next.

Once out of the lunchtime labyrinth I was able to wander some more, and took in (or rather took photos of) a couple of the more colourful buildings.

It was then a long walk back to the hostel, passing an incredibly high number of policemen/women that were just out on the beat.

In the afternoon, a bus ticket to Santa Cruz was bought, and I then killed time until my arrival the following day.

La Paz street

Rows of cafes #1

Rows of cafes #2

Fruit store

Football match

Final score

Bolivian immigration

Typical LP shop